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The Irish setter originated from a variety of spaniels, pointers and setters. These dogs were originally called Irish Red Setter in the United States, and at one stage these dogs was red and white with shorter legs than they have today.

Irish Setters are very versatile hunting dogs. They are very fast, and they have very good noses. Irish Setters are both pointers and retrievers. Today, many people have these dogs as show companions or as family dogs.


The coat is moderately long, silky, and of a red or chestnut in color. It requires frequent brushing to maintain its condition and keep it mat-free. The undercoat is abundant in winter weather, and the top coat is fine. Their coats should also feather in places such as the tail, ears, chest, legs, and body. Irish Setters range in height from 25 to 27 inches (630 to 690 mm), males weigh 60 to 70 lb (27 to 32 kg) and females 53 to 64 lb (24 to 29 kg). The FCI Breed Standard for the Irish Setter stipulates males: 23 to 26.5 inches (580 to 670 mm), females: 21.5 to 24.5 inches (550 to 620 mm). Irish Setters are deep chested dogs with small waists.


Irish Setters get along well with children, other dogs, and any household pets, and will enthusiastically greet visitors. Even though they do well with household pets, small animals may pose a problem for this breed, as they are a hunting breed. Some Irish setters may have problems with cats in the house, and may be too rambunctious with small children. As the FCI, ANKC and UK Standards state, the breed should be "Demonstrably affectionate." As a result, Irish Setters make excellent companion animals and family pets.

Irish Setters are an active breed, and require long, daily walks and off-lead running in wide, open spaces. They are, however, a breed with a tendency to 'play deaf,' so careful training on mastering the recall should be undertaken before allowing them off-lead.

Irish Setters enjoy having a job to do. Lack of activity will lead to a bored, destructive, or even hyperactive dog. This is not a breed that can be left alone in the backyard for long periods of time, nor should they be. Irish Setters thrive on constant human companionship. Irish Setters respond swiftly to positive training and are highly intelligent.

Weight Height Range

The Irish Setter breed standard does not contain a height range, however on average dogs stand at 65cms at the withers and weigh 30.5kgs, bitches average at 61cms from the withers and weigh 26kgs.


This breed was very popular in the 1970's and many health and temperament problems appeared. In recent years many of these problems have been eliminated. Irish Setters are known to be sensitive to penicillin and some other antibiotics. They are also prone to hip dysplasia and screening for this is very important.


Early obedience training is a must in order to get this dog to come back if it ever gets off the lead. Being a hunter, although an easily distracted one, it will follow a scents all over if not trained to come back to its owner. With patience and kindness, The Irish Setter is easy to train and can even compete in obedience trials. It is a sensitive breed though and will not respond well to harsh correction. This breed matures slowly, both physically and mentally and should never be pushed too far too fast. They are hardheaded, stubborn and independent.

Show Characteristics

The long, lean head should be twice the length of the width between the eyes. There should be a distinct stop and a well-defined occiput, so that in profile the head appears slightly domed with a deep muzzle which is fairly square at the nose. The jaws should be of nearly equal length, with a perfect scissor bite, and a black or dark mahogany which adds to the aristocratic appearance. Almond shaped eyes of a dark to medium brown. Feathering begins at the ear tips, on ears set back and low, in length, almost long enough to reach the nose. They should have a long, very muscular not too thick neck. The shoulder blades should slope well back over a deep, rather narrow chest. A slightly sloping topline is completed by the plumed tail, which should be held level with the topline. Strong, well-boned legs support the dog. Muscle should be evident in the hindquarters and the hocks should be nearly perpendicular to the ground. This anatomy should produce the graceful and efficient gait that helps make the dog so showy in the ring.

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